Jerome Ropati

Playing for any club for more than 7-8 years is a great achievement and a show of loyalty – and that is exactly what Warriors centre Jerome Ropati has done, with the veteran re-signing with the New Zealand Warriors, in a deal that will see him stay with the club until the end of the 2013 season.

The deal will see Ropati become the 2nd longest-serving player with 11 seasons, along with Awen Guttenbeil – with Stacey Jones in front of him on 12 seasons played for the Warriors.

For Ropati, he feels that at his age, it made sense to only commit to 1-year deals at a time.

“I’m more than happy to sign for just one season. It’s a fair way for both parties and I’m confident my form this year and next will warrant a further extension,” he said.

“I really appreciate the great support he Vodafone Warriors have given me throughout my career. This is the only club I want to play for.

“My focus right now is on doing the best I can each week this season. I’ve had some injury setbacks and I’m driven to get back to playing as much football as I can.

“I love it here. This is home for me. It’s great being among the boys, the coaching staff and seeing all the young players coming through our system. I’d like to help as much as I can with the young boys.”

With each club having an ambassador for the One Community, Ropati is the ambassador for the Warriors – with his off-field achievements something that he also takes pride in.

“Being involved in One Community programmes like the Konica Minolta League in Libraries initiative is really important to me,” he said.

“Being involved in the community has become a critical part of being a professional footballer today, about developing yourself as a person. I get a lot of pleasure out of it.”

Brian McClennan, the Warriors head coach, who was also working with Ropati at international level for the Kiwis – and speaks highly of of the value that Ropati brings to both the team and the club.

“Jerome’s experience and versatility are so important for us,” he said.

“With so many young players coming through into our NRL side, we need good people like Jerome to mentor them and help us with our culture.

“He’s such a terrific person to have around the team and the club and it’s great to have playing on for another season and hopefully beyond that as well.”

By ricky

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